Magazine
Latest Issue

Young person’s guide to Stalin

Martin Amis's Koba is another exhibitionist work-yet endearing and instructive. A Harry Pottering among the ruins of 20th-century political illusions

By Frederic Raphael   October 2002

Book: Koba the Dread Author: Martin Amis Price: Jonathan Cape £16.99

What have we here? On the falsely smiling, front-covered face of its “hero,” a study of Joseph Stalin, written by a désabusé stylist. Has the author of The War Against Cliché shunned the obvious and found a good word for an old tyrant? He managed to make comedy, of a kind, out of Auschwitz, in Time’s Arrow, didn’t he? (Did he?) Here, Martin Amis eschews show-boating: his Stalin is the monster we all know about, plus a sprinkle of chef’s home-grown ginger.

Is there anything that still needs saying…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect